Verona Environmental Commission Meetings
The public is welcome to attend our monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of each month (except August) at 7 pm in the Conference Room of the Community Center, 880 Bloomfield Ave. in Verona. Our Minutes and our Annual Report for 2016 and 2017 are available here. Join us in protecting the environment for the health and well being of all! Feel free to contact our Chairperson, Gloria Machnowski, at gmachnowski@veronaec.org or by mail to Verona Town Hall, c/o Environmental Commission, 600 Bloomfield Ave., Verona, NJ 07044.
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Green News
Free Trees On Earth Day
We will celebrate Earth Day with a Tree Giveaway on April 21. The event will take place from 9 am to 12 noon at 42 Grove Avenue in Verona. The tree seedlings are greenhouse grown by the State Forest Service and come in 8" recyclable tubes. We will have native trees such as Eastern Redbud , Oaks, and Eastern White Pine. Seedlings planted today will create forest for our future! If you have any questions please contact gmachnowski@veronaec.org 

Verona Green Fair
Verona's 4th Annual Green Fair sponsored by Sustainable Verona will take place on Saturday, May 19th, 2018 from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM. The Green Fair will be held outside in the Verona Civic Center Square at 600 Bloomfield Ave. Verona, NJ 07044. The fair will feature live music, a wide variety of vendors, an open street event for cyclists, exhibitions, live demonstrations, children’s games, activities, and arts n’ crafts. Rain date will be Sunday, May 20. In celebration of Earth Day, Verona is pleased to offer a special compost bin & rain barrel sale for all Essex County residents. All orders must be placed by May 14th at  https://essexcompostersale.ecwid.com/ and pick up at the Green Fair.

Verona Park Cleanup
The Environmental Commission joined the Verona Park Conservancy on April 14 to clean up Verona Park, including the lake! Once an old swamp, the lake was first formed in 1814 when Doctor Gone (or Bohn) dammed the Peckman River for a grist mill. It is always a pleasure to collaborate with the VPC, we got a lot done together with support from Essex County Parks and the Township of Verona Department of Public Works.
About 50 volunteers met near the Boathouse and worked all morning long removing debris from the park and lake. The organizers provided working gloves, trash and recycling bags, long handled nets and a rowboat. A big thank you to all our volunteers!

Stormwater Review
Verona Environmental Commission Member Sean DiBartolo (Professional Engineer, LEED AP) participated in the Webinar “Asking the Right Questions in Stormwater Review” presented by the Association of NJ Environmental Commissions. Later on Sean gave a public presentation on the topic at the Verona Planning Board Meeting on February 22 . The presentation is available HERE

Fair in the Square
We had a great time at the Fair in the Square at the Civic Center on December 2, 2017. Kids (and adults) made over 80 pine cone bird feeders at the Verona Environmental Commission table and over 80 residents signed our pledge to end unnecessary vehicle idling in Verona. You can still sign our pledge HERE
 Thank you!
Take the Pledge
Please visit our Clean-Air webpage to Pledge to End Unnecessary Vehicle Idling in Verona. Do your part to keep kids healthy and Verona's air clean. Thank you!

Sustainable Gifts:  
Please consider donating to the Verona Environmental Commission to help protect Verona's natural resources. Checks can be made out to the Township of Verona with "VEC Donation" in the memo line. Donations can be drop off at Town Hall, or mailed to 600 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona, NJ 07044. Matt Laracy, Verona’s CFO, deposits the funds into the VEC trust fund. The Township is not a 501-c-3. We appreciate your support!
NJDEP Compliance Alert
Should you happen to observe a vehicle emitting extremely thick exhaust smoke, or making excessive noise, it is likely that the emission controls such as the catalytic converter or diesel particulate filter (DPF) have been hollowed out or removed completely. DPF “delete kits” are very popular with pickup truck enthusiasts. This is a violation of state regulations, and is subject to significant fines. You may contact Verona Police at (973) 239-5000 or NJDEP Bureau of Mobile Sources at 609-292-7953. For more information, please read the complete compliance alert or contact stopthesoot@dep.nj.gov. NJDEP rely heavily on local partners to help spread the word about these policies. Air quality affects all Garden State residents, and we appreciate your assistance helping improve it.
You can always reduce, reuse and recycle more. Please visit our Recycling Programs webpage for guidelines and details. Verona has great recycling programs!
October 4 was Walk & Bike to School Day. Hundreds of Verona students and parents joined the celebration. Verona Public School students from Kindergarten through 12 Grade participated in the 9th Annual Poster Contest sponsored by the VEC. The theme this year was: How can we stop Climate Change in Verona? Students' artwork was displayed at all participating schools. 
The award ceremony took place at Verona Town Hall on October 23. 
Winners received $50 dollars and an award certificate. The VEC also presented a
 3-minute videoFor more information please click HERE

Grove Park Cleanup
On October 14 we hosted a cleanup  at Grove Park, Verona’s Historic Park & Nature Preserve located at 42 Grove Avenue. Volunteers did trail maintenance, cleaned up the woods and planted an Eastern Redbud tree where the old trail entrance used to be. Verona Kids Rock group helped during the cleanup and donated $25. We would like to thank all our volunteers! 
Verona Impervious Area: Read HERE the Impervious Cover Assessment Prepared for Verona Township by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program. Based on the study, in July 2017 the VEC formally recommended Verona Township to implement green infrastructure and reduce impervious area in the township at least a 10 percent; in order to repair our waterways, reduce flooding, and minimize erosion. You can read our full letter HERE.
Position Paper: The VEC held a special meeting on September 14th to talk about the construction at Verona Park, and our members approved this Position Paperasking the County to reduce impervious area wherever possible, and to consider using Green Infrastructure such as Permeable Pavement, instead of impervious materials. We met with the County Executive on September 20 and presented our recommendations.
VEC Videos
We made several videos about the Poster Contest, Grove Park, the Green Fair, the Peckman Trail and much more! You can watch them all HERE
Verona and Climate Change
The VEC petitioned the governing body of the Township of Verona to implement measures in order to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at a rate of at least 3.6% a year. Learn why and how HERE. 

2017 Annual Peckman Cleanup
The Peckman River and Woods Cleanup behind F.N.Brown school went very well on June 3rd. The group removed a large amount of invasive Japanese Knotweed and garbage, mulched the area, installed a bat house, repaired the footbridge and boardwalk, and cleared the trails of fallen trees. 
Thank you to all our volunteers and DPW! Well done! To participate in future events please contact us at VeronaEnvironmental@gmail.com
Verona Green Fair
We had a great time at the Verona Green Fair on May 20. Over 35 vendors and non-profit organizations participated including Morgan's Farm, VMAC, Direct Energy, Liberty Science Center, Montclair Community Farm, West Essex Music Together, Backpacks for Life, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, NJ Spine & Joint, Verona Rescue Squad, Green Point Juicery, Montclair State Enviro Club, PAWS, Momentum Solar, a Shredding Truck, Rx Drug Drop and much more. We distributed recycling bins and barrels to Verona residents, k
ids learned how to stop plastic pollution and adopted pre-owned stuffed animals at the VEC table. HBW 8th grader Edward Selimi built a bicycle from recycled parts and brought it to the Green Fair. Many people got to ride, and enjoy it! For More Information please visit www.VeronaNJ.org/SustainableVerona
Successful Cleanup!
About 70 volunteers participated in the West Essex Trail Cleanup on April 2nd, 2017, removing over 6 truck loads of trash. The volunteers met at two main locations: 280 Grove Ave. in Cedar Grove and at the main trail entrance on 201 Fairview Avenue, off Sampson Drive in Verona. The cleanup effort was focused on the section from Fairview Ave. to Pompton Ave. 
The Verona Environmental Commission and the Cedar Grove Environmental Commission teamed up with Essex County Parks to organize this cleanup. We would like to thank the DPW and all the volunteers who participated removing tires, metal fencing and pipes, cinder blocks, lawn chairs, metal drums, car batteries and even school bus seats and a refrigerator! Pictures are posted HERETrail users and neighbors are encouraged to lend a hand with the ongoing cleanup by carrying a shopping bag to collect any items missed by the spring cleaning. Thank you!
Grove Park - 42 Grove Avenue
The VEC, Junior Woman’s Club of Verona and Verona Historical Society joined forces to create a nature preserve and historic park on the site of a 19th century community 
gathering place. This was later the homestead of Dr. Henry B. Whitehorne, the namesake of Verona's middle school. The woods at 42 Grove are now home to many kinds of wildlife, including a family of foxes and wild turkeys. Vegetation includes a huge patch of skunk cabbage and jack-in-the-pulpits, native sycamore, black cherry, hickory, tulip poplar and red maple trees. The park's ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on November 21, 2015. You can watch the video here. The wooded lot was restored and a short, sustainable nature trail was created, park benches and signage with information about the history of the site were added.
Trees and plants will be added during the Spring of 2016. Open space provides many benefits to the community. In  rapidly growing urban areas, any preserved land can offer relief from congestion. In the early 1800s this lot was the site of Personett’s Grove, a favorite meeting place for picnics, religious meetings and Fourth of July celebrations. Later Dr. Whitehorne built his home on the site. Whitehorne's home was destroyed by fire in the 1960s. The Weathon family owned the property until 1966. The township bought the 1.33 acre lot in 1975. The property has a significant historical value. Grove Ave. got its name from Personett's Grove. We appreciate the town's commitment to this preservation effort.
Verona Township encourages all residents to plant native trees, and reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost as much of their household waste as possible. The Recycling Center (10 Commerce Ct.) is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. 
Low Impact Checklist: You can download HERE the VEC Low Impact “Green” Checklist for construction and planning.  This suggested list has been compiled by the VEC based on best available practices.
Verona and Zika: Please read HERE the VEC statement about Zika Virus. 
Verona e-code: The Township of Verona Code is available on-line HERE. At Verona Environmental Commission encouragement, Verona Township adopted a Steep Slope Ordinance in 2016 and a strong Anti Idling Resolution in 2015.
Remyndr Download the free app on iTunes -enter your address to receive notifications about your recycling and garbage curbside collection schedule.
Climate Change
The Verona Environmental Commission released a statement in support of the Essex County Board of Freeholders' Climate Change Resolution. The Commission is showing support for the goals of the County in which the Township sits and plans to help the County meet those goals. The Freeholders Resolution "In Support of the State of New Jersey Taking Action on Climate Change" was passed unanimously by the Freeholders. 
Steep Slope Ordinance: At VEC encouragement, Verona Township adopted a Steep Slope Ordinance on April 4, 2016. The purpose of this ordinance is to regulate the degree of disturbance of areas of steeply sloping terrain in order to limit soil loss, erosion, excessive stormwater runoff, the degradation of surface water and to maintain the natural topography and drainage patterns of land. Disturbance of steep slopes results in accelerated erosion processes, increased flooding potential, further fragmentation of forest and habitat areas, and compromised aesthetic values. The Township Council adopted this ordinance to ensure against the adverse consequences of such disturbances.
Anti Idling Resolution
At the VEC encouragement, the Verona Town Council approved a Resolution adopting a strong Anti Idling policy in 2015. The resolution essentially reinforces existing NJ State Law which prohibits idling in your car or truck beyond 3 minutes while parked. It also encourages drivers to turn off their engines immediately, especially in schools, drive through windows, gas stations, parking lots, etc. Municipally-owned vehicles are also included in the anti-idling campaign. Emissions from gasoline and diesel powered vehicles contribute significantly to air pollution, including greenhouse gases, ozone formation, fine particulates, and a multitude of potentially harmful pollutants that can trigger various respiratory ailments such as asthma. Enforcing this resolution would significantly improve public health, air quality, reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Watch Your Ash
Presence of Emerald Ash Tree Borer Confirmed in Essex County
We strongly recommend Verona residents to initiate action to protect their Ash trees. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of tree-killing Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Montclair. As this pest spreads rapidly, it kills 99% of all ash trees. The extensive damage in trees sampled so far indicate the pest has been in Montclair for several years, and is likely widespread. Trees with no visible symptoms may already be infested; only a trained professional will know. For more information visit www.emeraldashborer.nj.gov -  
To obtain a listing of Certified Tree Experts please contact njtreeexperts@gmail.com and provide your location so a county specific listing can be provided. Thank you.

New Water Fountains
The Township of Verona Municipal Building and the Verona Community Center have great new water fountains paid for by a grant. These are Water Bottle Refilling Stations that display the quantity of disposable bottles saved from landfills. The Verona High School also installed one, thanks to the Marine Biology Club. Look for them this summer at the Verona Community Pool as well. Well done everybody!
Bronze Certification
Verona Township has been awarded bronze level certification again by Sustainable Jersey for 2016! Bronze certification means a municipality has made a commitment to sustainability and succeeded in implementing significant first steps, while silver certification means a municipality has made significant progress in a number of categories toward sustainability and is a state-wide and national leader. At Verona Environmental Commission encouragement, Verona Township joined Sustainable Jersey in 2014 and became the 400th municipality in the state to join the program. The VEC formally presented the program to the council members on November 2013 and provided information to residents at our table in the December 2013 Fair in the Square. A Green Team and Chairman Steve Neale was appointed in 2014 to lead the local sustainability efforts.